When my cat Nutty died I was in Japan and I remember how much it hurt and how I thought I would never get another cat and if I did I would never, ever love him as much as I loved Nutty.
When I got Jack I thought the same thing. I wanted a cat and I liked Jack but I thought - I'll never love you like I loved my Nutty cat - the cat I had from age 7 to 22.
But sure enough I loved Jack like crazy.
He was a very smart, loving and funny cat. He was really big and a pretty tannish pale orange color with big yellow-green eyes. We lived together in Lawrence, KS, on the Plaza in KC, in the city of Chicago, in Evanston, in Shawnee, Olathe, Overland Park, and finally Half Moon Bay.
He was with me for 18 years of living life. He was 6 when Noah was born and I had to put a tent over Noah's crib to keep Jack from jumping in to it. He grew to love Noah over time and eventually became Noah's cat. He used to sleep snuggled up to him most nights.
Jack was a very vocal cat and I spent many years feeling that the biggest mystery of my life would be wondering what Jack was trying to say. He used to copy the kids and meow, "Mom! Mom!" - I often thought a child was yelling for me when it was Jack.
As he got older he cried a lot. But he always purred. He always wanted to be held and snuggled and it made him purr loud.
He always came when you called him.
A couple of years ago one night when I was putting Noah to bed he asked me an interesting question. Putting Noah to bed has always been a time to talk and sometimes philosophize. He must have been reading something interesting because he said, "Mom if we had a potion that would make you live forever but only one person could take it, who would you want to have it?" I couldn't even begin to fathom the idea of his question when he told me, "I'd want Jack to take it."
I loved that idea. I promptly told Noah that it would make a wonderful story but he was thinking in earnest about his impossibly old cat whom he loved and whom he held in higher esteem, rightfully so, than anyone he had ever known. Jack deserved to live forever.
I don't think I will ever have another cat because I had the best cat. He was good and kind. He never hurt others, never behaved in a mean way. He was friendly to everyone and always good natured. He was clean and neat and even in the past couple of days when his world was going very dark, he tried to have composure.
I have never had to do anything as painful as what I did today. Jack has been declining for some time. He has not played for a very long time. He was sleeping almost constantly. He ate, drank, went to the bathroom and slept. Sometimes he would wander around a bit. Sometimes he would ask to be held or snuggled. Mostly he just slept. The past two days he has not been able to eat or drink or go to his litter box. He was just trying to find a hole to crawl into. And no holding or petting or loving could elicit a purr of any kind.
I've never put an animal to sleep before - I asked if it would hurt him and they said it would not. They said he would go to sleep but that's just not what happened. He was cuddled in my arms, half asleep already and barely moving and when she gave him the injection he opened his eyes big and wide and then that was it. It didn't feel peaceful or comforting. It feels like I killed my cat.
I could not let him go for a long time after that. I brought him home with me and held him in my lap for an hour knowing that he was gone and that he wouldn't wake up but not believing it somehow. And either way, not being able to let him go. I never wanted to let go of the feeling of holding my Jackie cat. His soft fur and sweet paws and the feel of his long body - it's was too hard to bury him.
But I did.
A lot of people met Jack and anybody who liked cats at all just loved him - he was the best cat. He had a wonderful personality and I really, honestly can't believe he is gone.
I told Marshal that I wanted to find a taxidermist and he told me no. I would do this if I had the option. I don't want to let go of the feel of Jack, my irreplaceable, long-time friend.
He was my first baby, no doubt about it. And he let all my human babies drag him around, carry him like a baby, pull his hair, ears, tail and squeeze him - he never hurt any of them. Jacob won't remember him. I'll never forget him.